June 19, 2013
Mexico's Calderon makes new push for reform of labour laws
Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent a new proposal to liberalize the country's antiquated labor laws to lawmakers today as he seeks to fast-track the legislation before leaving office at the end of November.
Calderon's draft bill, submitted at the start of the new Congress by Interior Minister Alejandro Poire, is aimed at helping spur stronger growth in Latin America's second biggest economy.
Incoming President Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has also pledged to back labor reform, and may work to help Calderon as the PRI will need opposition support to get its own laws through Congress.
Agreeing on labor reform has long proved difficult in Mexico, and the proposal could be a litmus test of how the PRI and Calderon's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, cooperate in the new Congress, which lasts three years.
The two parties were close to a deal on labor reform last year until the PRI ended up withholding approval for tactical reasons before a string of important elections.
Pena Nieto, who takes office on Dec. 1, has been at pains to show his readiness to reach consensus with other parties after he fell short of a majority in Congress in the July 1 elections.
A few minutes after Poire submitted the proposal, PRI Senate leader Emilio Gamboa said his party would waste no time in setting up the framework to discuss it.
"I think we're going to be able to reach deals, not just with one party but with most of the parties," he said.
Calderon's bill takes advantage of a new law that allows the president to put forward two proposals at the start of each session of Congress. The two houses of Congress have two months in which to approve or reject the initiatives.